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Valar Qringaomis

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Beyond Binary

BBC World Service - The Documentary, Beyond Binary

"'Men who transition to women, women who transition to men. That wasn't acceptable.' Slowly, over decades a legitimacy of sorts has come for those who transition from one gender to another... the finessing of surgical techniques and the wider availability of hormones has meant gender affirmation surgery - what used to be called sex reassignment - become more common. Today, American transwomen like Caitlyn Jenner and Leverne Cox and to a degree transmen, are far more visible.

'Transgender has moved more to the centre of mainstream, leaving a big hole. And non-binary has moved into that. And now we even have television stars saying they are not men and not women. We have Miley Cyrus. We have Ruby Rose. This is wonderful. And with the advent of the internet these days people are sharing their strength and hopes and pride in being not-men, not-women'...

The vast majority of people find out [they are non-binary] while surfing online...

Perhaps the most important social media vehicle is tumblr, a site hosting millions of micro bloggers. Gen Jack Easking [sp?] who goes by Jack is a non-binary New York based academic and uses the pronouns he and she interchangeably. Jack's been researching how trans youth, including those defining as non bnary, interact with tumblr. For over a year she's been saving every post with a trans hashtag and has collected more than a million. 'There really hasn't been a trans person that I've met under the age of 30 who hasn't been on Tumblr and hasn't been significantly affected by the kind of images they've seen there and the visuality...

[On Thai Kathoeys] At the beginning she wanted to cut her genitals because she wants to be a perfect woman but she have seen friends friends who has gone a little bit insane and she doesn't want to be like that and she mentioned that most people who come here and visit, they like ladyboys or kathoey who still have their genital...

'There's nothing easier and more fun and liberating for me than using a urinal in a dress. It's actually really easy and wonderful and I wish that we were just able to do that more. But there's nothing more scary than walking up to a row of urinals next to cisgender men and just lifting up your dress. They are so scandalised and there's something kinda fun about that I have to say'...

'I am gender-fluid. Or gender-variant, so effectively I typically spend half my week, working week as Phil, Phillip in male mode and the other half as Pips or Pippa in female mode'...

Fault lines often emerge between those who might have been allies. The movement for transgender acceptance and equality has been fractured by the non-binaries. Trans people transitioning from male to female or female to male worry their own, often very painful journeys, may somehow be invalidated by these genderqueer upstarts. Then there are feminists... feminists also critique non-binary...

[Someone who sounds like a girl] 'I want to look like a boy in a dress. That's the kind of non-binaryness that I want to see myself having'...

I've heard some feminists, you know, critical of non-binary identities and saying that in order to be non-binary you have to really believe in the binary and what they want to do as feminists is to end all gender."


Thoughts:

First we had gay people, then we had trans people and now we have non-binary people. This suggests that once non-binary people hit the mainstream, there'll be another group out there; no matter how tolerant society is, there will always be people pushing the boundaries.

If non-binary is wonderful, what about otherkin? Who have also "benefited" from the internet.

If a woman gets a boob job isn't that "gender affirmation" too?

Isn't it trolling to use a urinal in a dress? If a non-black man uses the word "nigga" is that liberating?

If you address Phil/Pips by the wrong name during the half of the week he is the other, can he sue you for discrimination?

If you want to look like a boy in a dress, you're not non-binary - you're just mixing the genders.
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